A Bountiful Bevy

Yes, it has been almost 3 months since a post last appeared here. What have I been up to? Let me tell you! 🙂

First and foremost was school, school, and more school. Now that I am done for the semester I have a few weeks to breathe. Most recently, and most exciting – I finally got my spinning wheel! Here is a photo:

Meet Jean Louise

She is a Schacht Matchless, and her name is Jean Louise. She was born on 11-20-2009 and was the first wheel made that day! She is named after the narrator in my favorite book, “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. In the short 3 1/2 weeks I have had her, we have been quite productive, see:

Group Photo

A Bountiful Bevy of Beauty

There is 30 ounces of lovely goodness in that photo! They are shown in order spun, first to most recent. While I still love my spindles, I find I can get more done with my wheel, and that my yarn comes out better.

I leave you with a few photos of my most recent project. I just finished the first 2 ounces of this last night – a lovely Merino / Silk combination that will be a beautiful lace weight yarn when completed.

Iris 1

Merino / Silk in Iris

Iris 2

First 2 Ounces

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My First Fiber Festival

Well, September was certainly a crazy month. There is much that goes into returning to school after a long, lazy summer off. Most of which has been lots of energy and time. It hasn’t left me much time to post here on the blog. I also haven’t made much progress on my knitting, though my spinning is getting there. Right now, it is easier for me to find time to spin.

Last Saturday saw me at my first ever fiber festival. It was a new festival too, and it was just great. It was the First Annual Southern Adirondack Fiber Festival. The day started out with Cris of Into the Whirled meeting me at my house. My place is about half way between hers and the festival, so it worked out well. It was also a good excuse to leave the boys at home and have a girls day out.

We got there and hit the ground running. We did a circuit around the grounds before stopping for a much needed lunch. We then went back and purchased things that we had waited to purchase until we had a chance to see what other vendors had to offer. It was a beautiful day, and we had a ton of fun. We shopped, we talked, we ran into other friends. I was good and stuck to my budget – I even left with money in my pocket. I came home with some awesome memories and some wonderful treasures. I really can’t wait to go back again next year!

Here are the fiber treasures:

The first two are both from Into the Whirled. This is what my day started with! 🙂 I had purchased them from Cris and got in person delivery.

Minotaur 56s Falkland Batt

Minotaur 56's Falkland Batt

56s Falkland Wool Top

56's Falkland Wool Top

 

My very first purchase of the day was from Mountain Fiber Folk Cooperative, and is a lovely, lovely blend of 60% wool, 30% alpaca, and 10% silk. The color is just stunning and it really does look like its namesake, the moonstone.

Moonstone

Moonstone - 3oz

 

Next up was a beautiful, natural caramel and fawn colored alpaca. This came from Quarry Ridge Alpacas.

Soft and Lovely Alpaca - 4oz

Soft and Lovely Alpaca - 4oz

 

Last, but certainly not least is my favorite purchase of the day. I fell in love with this yarn the second I laid eyes on it. I passed it by on the first round to see if I could find something else I liked. Nope – I ended up going back, and I do not regret it. It is so beautiful and soft. It is a mix of natural colors and is truly stunning in person. It is 100% alpaca and came from Times Remembered (no website).

Chocolate Twist - 8.2oz - 600 yards sport weight

Chocolate Twist - 8.2oz - 600 yards sport weight

TDF 09 Update #3

Happy Friday!

This past Wednesday was the challenge day for the Tour de Fleece. I tackled a few things all in one fell swoop. I decided I wanted to try spinning a batt and see what the difference was. I also wanted to try a new drafting method, long draw. I did both of those, and tried a new fiber too – Falkland! It was a fun challenge day. 🙂

I started to work with the batt on Tuesday night at knitting. I really like working with batts, and I think I prefer it to braids. I will still work with braids, but it is a bit of a different experience. I really love the Falkland too. It is so soft and is spinning up beautifully. It even has a bit of a nice sheen. It is going to make one pretty yarn! Special thanks to Cris from Into the Whirled for such pretty stuff to play with. 😀

I will be curious to see the end result I will get from spinning long draw. 

Here are some photos of what I have been working on. Click on any photo to see a larger version.

 

Look at that lovely color!

Look at that lovely color!

I REALLY love these colors!

I REALLY love these colors!

More Pretty

More Pretty

TDF 09 Update #2

I guess I have been bad at posting my Tour de Fleece progress. Then again, I wasn’t making much progress, to be honest. I am getting faster with the drop spindle, and I am able to spin for longer periods of time. I am still amazed how fast the last bit of Shetland went, it seemed to just fly out of my hands! A special thanks to Jen, of Contended Butterfly Farm for such well prepared roving. It really was a joy to spin. Give Celebrian extra love from me for donating her lovely fleece. 😀

I hit more great milestones, I finished my first batch of roving (total of 4 ounces), and I plied my first skein of yarn. This skein was navajo plied. It really came out great and I am proud of this one too. It is soft, squishy, and the color is great. It is going to make something lovely for me, that is for sure! The stats on this are:

  • Name: Celebrian
  • Colorway: Moorit
  • 148 yards
  • 56 ounces

Did I mention that I really loved navajo plying?! It is a lot of fun, and was so easy to do on the spindle. I liked that I only had one strand to worry about, and that I had no leftover bits at the end. I will be doing this technique again, and I may even use it on what I started to spin last night at knitting. I will have more on the new stuff Friday. For now, here are some pretty photos. Clicking on any of them will bring you to larger versions on my Flickr page.

Close up on the spindle, after plying.

Close up on the spindle, after plying.

Spaghetti, anyone?!

Spaghetti, anyone?!

The finished skein.

The finished skein.

Mmmm....Detail

Mmmm....Detail

The Best Laid Plans…

Ah, yes, how grand my plans were for the shetland I have been spinning for a while now. Well, ok…maybe not grand, but I was excited about them anyway. 😉 I originally had 4 ounces to work with. I took that and split it into 2, 2 ounce sections. The first 2 ounces has been spun and resting on its uber-fancy tp holder bobbin for a few weeks now. I wanted to take that 2 ounces and navajo ply it. I was going to spin the second 2 ounces into 2, 1 ounce balls and then ply those together andean style.

I started to navajo ply the first 2 ounces yesterday and was immediately unhappy with how thick it was. I just did not like the way it looked. So, like a true artist, I made a decision on the fly. 😛 I decided to leave this as singles, because it is so thick as is. That led me to another decision, and that is to keep going with the second (and MUCH thinner) half and navajo ply that. I think the second half will look great plied that way, and I seem to be getting a lot out of it. I love the way it is coming out and would love to use it to make something.

Since I decided to leave the first 2 ounces as singles, they went into a nice, hot bath with some lavender wool wash yesterday. I let it soak for a bit, and then hung it to dry. I am amazed at how wonderfully lofty this came out. It is soft, and beautiful, even if it is a bit uneven. This is my very first ever finished skein of yarn. So exciting!

Here are the stats:

  • Name: Celebrian Singles (after the sheep that graciously donated her fleece)
  • Colorway: Moorit
  • WPI: 11
  • 83 yards
  • 46 gram skein
My FIRST Skein of Yarn

My FIRST Skein of Yarn

The Close-Up

The Close-Up

 

I also finished my niddy-noddy, and it came out really nice. A simple oil rubbed finish and it really brought out the color and the grain. All I used was mineral oil. It doesn’t get much easier!

Unfinished

Unfinished - Bone White and Boring!

Finished - A Nice Golden Color

Finished - A Nice Golden Color

Tour de Fleece

So, as Tina over at Rows Red said, we knitters can be a strange bunch. For those non-fibery people, the Tour de Fleece is where you spin every day that the Tour de France runs. Each person sets their own goals, and if you accomplish them by the end of the Tour, you get a badge for your blog. It is much more than that though, it is an opportunity to accomplish something, and to challenge yourself. My goal is quite simple, but perfect for me. My goal is to spin for a minimum of 10 minutes per day.

Now, that might not sound like much to most people. However, just a few weekends ago, I injured my shoulder from spinning for too long. It was not intentional. I just got caught up in the moment, and forgot to put the spindle down. Spinning for a period of time every day, will help build the muscle memory I need to spin for longer spans of time. It will also help to improve my spinning skills. It will get me in the habit of spinning on a daily basis too, so that I am doing more than knitting. After all, it is kinda hard to knit when you have no yarn to knit with. While I can always buy from a store, there is something magical about making my own yarn, and then making something beautiful out of that. It feels like such an amazing thing, a true accomplishment that leaves me with something tangible and useful.

In other news, speaking of accomplishments, I knit my 100th row on the shawl I am currently knitting. It is my first lace project and it is coming along beautifully. I will try to get a photos of that up, and my spinning progress soon.